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World War II
Subject
Civilian Victims
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The Bombing of Dresden
The Bombing of Dresden: Right or Wrong?
Hiroshima
The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Right or Wrong?
War Photos
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Civilian victims
Photo of the German city of Dresden following an Allied bombing raid on 13 February 1945. Dresden was devastated by bombs dropped from 1,250 aircraft. Thousands of people were killed, almost all of them civilians.

In earlier wars most of the victims had been members of the armed forces. In the First World War there were 18 times as many military victims as civilians. In the Second World War the ratio was equal. Many civilians died in bombing raids on factories, airfields and ports. But for the first time in history the opposing countries also deliberately bombed cities. By doing so they wanted to demoralize their opponents and force them to surrender.

Cities as targets

German aircraft bombed cities including Warsaw (Poland), Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and Coventry (Britain) to try to force a surrender. In the course of the war old German cities like Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden were the targets of Allied bombing. In August 1945 the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 14 December 2017
Then: 11 December 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; the U.S. respond in kind.

View the timeline